Beneficiary Designation Form

Relief associations that authorize in their bylaws the payment of survivor benefits may pay a survivor benefit to a designated beneficiary when a deceased member has no surviving spouse and no surviving children, and a beneficiary has been designated.

Relief associations usually cannot recognize a beneficiary designation if a member has a surviving spouse or surviving children. There is one exception, however, for members who have a surviving spouse but no surviving children. If a member has no surviving children, the member’s surviving spouse may waive, wholly or partially, the spouse’s entitlement to the survivor benefit. The waiver must be in writing. If the surviving spouse has waived entitlement, the survivor benefit may be paid to a designated beneficiary. When a lump-sum benefit is being distributed, a trust created under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 501B, may be a designated beneficiary.

If a relief association’s bylaws authorize the payment of survivor benefits, the relief association’s trustees should ask new members to complete a designation of beneficiary form when joining the association. Members should also be encouraged to review their beneficiary designations at least annually to ensure that the designations are updated following major life events.

A sample designation of beneficiary form is available on the OSA website. The sample form is meant to provide a framework for relief associations to develop their own custom designation of beneficiary forms that take into consideration any unique needs of their organizations. Relief associations should, therefore, consult with their attorneys for guidance in developing their own custom forms.

Additional information on calculating survivor benefits, survivor supplemental benefits, and the order of eligibility for collecting a survivor benefit can be found in the OSA’s Statement of Position on this topic.

Published last in the August 2022 Pension Newsletter